After acquittal of homicide, ex-Cavite mayor found guilty of graft

Rappler.com
After acquittal of homicide, ex-Cavite mayor found guilty of graft
Former Amadeo, Cavite mayor Albert Ambagan Jr faces jail time of 12 years and one month, as well as perpetual disqualification from holding public office

MANILA, Philippines – Just 18 months after the Supreme Court (SC) acquitted him of homicide, former Amadeo, Cavite mayor Albert Ambagan Jr was found guilty by the Sandiganbayan of two counts of graft.

In a 24-page decision dated April 5, the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division said Ambagan caused undue injury when he ordered the construction of structures inside the residential lots of two private persons without an expropriation of the properties.

Prosecutors said Ambagan defied existing laws in 2008 when he ordered the construction of a development project in Balite Falls to proceed despite protests of the complainants, because support facilities for the resort encroached on their private properties.

Complainants in the case are Calixto Lumandas and heirs of Simplicio Lumandas.

Associate Justices Geraldine Econg, Alex Quiroz, and Reynaldo Cruz sentenced the former mayor to a total of 12 years and one month in jail. He also faces perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The decision came just 18 months after the High Court in October 15, 2015 reversed a 2004 Sandiganbayan decision that sentenced Ambagan to 24 years in jail after he was found guilty of two counts of homicide.

The anti-graft court said Ambagan commanded his security escorts to shoot Senior Police Officer II Reynaldo Santos and two of his companions in July 2004, after the police officer accosted Ambagan’s men for carrying firearms in Barangay Tamacan, Amadeo, Cavite.

But the SC said in its decision that evidence offered against Ambagan in court “does not pass the test of moral certainty and is insufficient to rebut the presumption of innocence.” – Rappler.com

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